F4F Wildcar as flown by Joe Foss USMC model airplane

F4F Wildcat / Joe Foss

Item Number: 421
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Grumman F4F Wildcat airplane model. By the end of 1941, the Grumman F4F-3 and its variant, the F4F-3A, popularly known as "Wildcat," had replaced the F2A in most U.S. Navy and Marine Corps fighter squadrons. The F4F-4, a folding-wing version, first flew in April 1941 and was introduced into service in early 1942. Influenced by British tactical concepts, it was equipped with six guns but carried less ammunition. Although the F4F-4 was heavier and not as agile or fast as the F4F-3, it became the only production model due to the demands of wartime manufacturing. Its folding wings allowed for more fighters to be accommodated on aircraft carriers. By the time of the Battle of Midway in June 1942, the F4F-4 was onboard all Pacific Fleet carriers, and squadron pilots were adapting to its use—often through harsh experience. Nevertheless, they employed it effectively throughout the fierce battles of Guadalcanal and the Central Solomons in the Pacific, as well as the North African campaign in the Atlantic.

In late 1942 and early 1943, Grumman phased out production of the F4F-4 and General Motors' Eastern Aircraft Division took it up as the FM-1 (with two less guns). In all, the two companies produced some three thousand "Wildcats" for the U.S. and Britain before GM's factories switched to the updated FM-2 in the later part of 1943.

Mahogany Wood. Wingspan 16 1/2 inches, Length 13 inches.